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DG at 50: Our favourite features

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend”
From DG#1, Oct-Dec 2010
Chosen by: Rob Orchard, co-editor 

“In our very first issue we investigated the English Defence League. James Montague spent time with the far right group’s then-unknown ‘Jewish Division’, following its members in their angry clashes with a group run by notorious Islamist preacher Anjem Choudhary, whom James interviewed in issue two. The story shone a light on something new and ugly that had bubbled to the surface of the UK’s national life and on how well-meaning but misguided people can be swept up in something very sinister.”

You can read the full piece here


The Orkney exception
From DG#7, Apr-Jun 2012
Chosen by: Jeremy Lawrence, associate editor

“When Alex Salmond launched the ill-fated ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence, he probably didn’t bank on Orkney asserting its right to decide its own future. Telling the remote archipelago’s story from the Viking era onward, Molly Flatt brought us to May 2012, and a proud local population distrustful of the mainland Scots and English. The piece delivered everything I look for from Delayed Gratification, diving into the history of an ignored or unknown subject to see what it tells us about our present.”

Subscribers can read the full piece via the digital archive here 

The last king of Derby
From DG#12, Jul-Sep 2013
Chosen by: Harriet Salem, editor at large

“I love an incredible story, and they don’t come much more extraordinary than the tale of Chris Ejiofor. In 2008 Ejiofor was an aviation engineer living in the Midlands when his nightly TV viewing was interrupted by a call that would change his life. He’d been appointed ruler of the Nigerian kingdom of Oyofo Oghe, which he’d fled four decades earlier. Writer Susan Schulman visited him in Africa over a four-year period as he attempted to change his new kingdom for the better.”

You can read the full piece here

Fault lines
From DG#23, Apr-Jun 2016
Chosen by: Matthew Lee, associate editor 

“In 2016 we had the challenge of covering what was set to be one of the key stories for years to come: Brexit. We ran six pieces in issue 23 on aspects of the Brexit story we felt had been underreported; I went to the EU-UK border in Ireland to write about a glaring issue, largely ignored in the pre-referendum debates, that took until this year to resolve (hopefully). We’ve had mega-stories since – Trump, Covid, Ukraine – and this feature gave us the push to be ambitious in our coverage of huge events.”

Subscribers can read the full piece via the digital archive here 

Last bus to Baghdad
From DG#24, Jul-Sep 2016
Chosen by: Jessica Parry, photographer

“As the US geared up to invade Iraq in 2003, a motley assortment of anti-war activists clambered aboard a red double decker bus in London and set off on a road trip to Baghdad to volunteer as human shields. In this fascinating story from issue 24, Marcus Webb spoke with all the key participants about their experiences of the journey and the disappointment they felt after arriving. The story is interwoven with the findings of 2016’s Chilcot report into the conflict: it’s a mix of bravery, chaos, high surreality – and tragedy.”

You can read the full piece here

The way of the gun
From DG#29, Oct-Dec 2017
Chosen by: Vicky Burgess, head of marketing

“As someone who often feels overwhelmed by the wealth of daily news I love our infographic treatments, through which the team demystifies complex subjects. This feature is my favourite example, about a mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017, the worst in modern US history.  It shows the deadly scale of the event at first glance, and then digs deeper into the bigger story of spiralling gun crime in the US that year. It’s beautiful and informative and heartbreaking all at once.”

Subscribers can read the full piece via the digital archive here 

“A bit of a shock for Salisbury”
From DG#30, Jan-Mar 2021
Chosen by: Marcus Webb, co-editor  

“My favourite writer in the world is my co-editor Rob Orchard, and ‘A bit of a shock for Salisbury’ saw him on top form. Tracing the fallout from Russia’s attempted assassination of a former spy in the usually quiet cathedral city, he captured the severity of the situation but also the moments of humour of people caught up in world-shaping events. I remember my excitement at reading his first draft (“She said, ‘It’s a Russian spy!’ And I said, ‘What? In Salisbury?’”) and how I couldn’t wait to share it with our readers.”

You can read the full piece here

‘The last of the Flying Wallendas’
From DG#42, Jan-Mar 2021
Chosen by: Beverley Milner, subscriptions manager

While I enjoy the long-form investigations, it’s often Delayed Gratification’s more intimate stories that stay with me, like the tale of the Flying Wallendas from DG#42. Despite several deaths and grisly accidents, this daredevil dynasty are still walking tightropes across the world. I found the interview with fourth-generation wire-walker Lijana Wallenda about why they take such risks both eye-opening and vertigo-inducing.

You can read the full piece here

The taken
From DG#45, Oct-Dec 2022
Chosen by: James Montague, associate editor

“I loved Matthew Lee’s story about hostage diplomacy and how states, especially the likes of Iran and China, will kidnap innocent people to use as makeweights to force concessions in unconnected diplomatic grievances. It was particularly prescient given how Russia is using the same tactic today. In ‘The taken’ we learn about the effects on those left behind, especially Richard Ratcliffe, whose dogged campaigning helped eventually to secure the release of his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.”

You can read the full piece here

Subscribers can access the complete Delayed Gratification digital archive at


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